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Culinary apprentices visit Peterhead with Michelin star chef

By Kyle Ritchie

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Amity Fish Company welcomed the next generation of culinary talent to Peterhead Harbour last week, in a packed schedule that saw them see firsthand the journey from sea to plate.

Compass Group’s eight willing apprentices were shadowed by executive chef David Bell, and enjoyed behind the scenes access at the harbour, getting hands on with some locally landed produce.

Accompanying the team was group mentor Stephen McLaughlin, head chef at the Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie restaurant of Gleneagles.

Culinary apprentices visited Peterhead last week.
Culinary apprentices visited Peterhead last week.

Guided by Amity MD Jimmy Buchan, the group had an early start in Peterhead's state of the art fish market, where they saw the fish for sale and the buyers in action.

After a tour of the inner workings of the market, the apprentices were then able to see their chosen catch filleted at local processor, Wilsea, thanks to access granted by owner William Clark.

The team returned to Peterhead Fish Market's training kitchen in the afternoon to cook up a storm with their produce.

The skill and knowledge passed on by Stephen and David during this masterclass wowed all involved, even tempting the port's new chief executive Graeme Reid down to watch and sample the dishes.

The day ended perfectly as two trawlers returned to land their catch at the quayside: Rosebloom and Boy John. Skipper Sandy McLeman was happy to invite the team aboard the Rosebloom for an education in life at sea to the delight of the team.

Executive chef David Bell of Compass Group said: “The day I, Stephen McLaughlin and the Scottish apprentices spent at Peterhead Harbour with Jimmy and Amity was outstanding.

“The knowledge and passion of the people there is second to none, from out in the boats to the sellers at the market, everyone works together to land fresh sustainable products to all our kitchens.

“We had the chance to go on a trawler, see the fish being auctioned at market and of course Stevie cooked up some amazing seafood to taste.

“All the apprentices thoroughly enjoyed the day, and everyone took some new learnings away with them.

“Thanks to Jimmy, Marshal and all the guys at the market, Sandy Mcleman skipper of the Rosebloom, Graeme Reid CEO Peterhead and Will Clark from Wilsea fish merchant for being so welcoming.

“A day we'll all remember for a long time and put the newfound knowledge into our kitchens.”

Stephen McLaughlin said: “That was genuinely one of the best educational trips that I have been on, and I do really mean that.

“The access to the market and seeing the live auction was incredible – all the way through to having a guided tour of the boat with its skipper showing us round was unforgettable.

“It was a fabulous educational day for the apprentice chefs, and they all took lots away with them too that they can use in their years ahead as talented people.”

Mr Buchan said: "We were thrilled to have hosted David, Stephen, and these talented young apprentices.

"Our hope is that this immersive experience will ignite a lasting passion for locally sourced seafood among the next generation of chefs."

The event was made possible for Compass Group with the coordination of Amity Fish Company and access provided by Peterhead Port Authority and Wilsea.

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